This past Sunday’s New York Times Book Review featured a menacing headline:

“Extreme Heat is Here to Stay. Why Are We Not More Afraid?”

Critic Jennifer Szalai poses the question in the context of a new book with an equally provocative and hyperbolic title. It’s written by Jeff Goodell: “The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet.”

Media outlets have long loved reporting on extreme weather. It used to sell newspapers – today it results in lots of clicks. The Drudge Report, a popular news aggregator, has been known to even turn its headlines about heat red. On Monday morning, the site was highlighting a series of stories in the upper left hand top corner:

UPDATE: Heatwave reaching max strength… 128 PEAK!
Phoenix braves relentless scorch…
What happens to your body during broil…
Europe hottest EVER? New Saharan Blast…
Athens Wildfire Forces Evacuation… Blaze on Canary Islands…
Smoke Pollution From Canada Returns… 

To be sure, parts of America have been hot this summer. But the hottest ever? It’s impossible to know. Records only go back so far, though in the eyes of some journalists, history only begins with the beginning of their own memory. Even historical data is limited to a few hundred years – and satellite images far less.

Mark Naida is the assistant editorial features editor at the Wall Street Journal, and a journalist who is far more circumspect. He considers some of the recent reporting to be not only over the top, but downright irresponsible.

He notes the so-called “average global temperature” statistic to be meaningless because the earth is so large and diverse and “no place is meaningfully average.”

Even more importantly and on point, especially in addressing Mr. Goodell’s scary book propaganda, Mr. Naida reminds readers, “There are more deaths from excessive cold than from excessive heat each year.”

In fact, the news is even better than that. Bjorn Lomborg is president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. In an address at Hillsdale College in April, Mr. Lomborg noted, “In the 1920s, about 500,000 people died each year, on average, due to climate. Looking at the averages in subsequent decades—the number fluctuates quite a bit from year to year—there has been a dramatic decline. In the 2010s, the average number of people dying each year as a result of climate was 18,000, and in 2022, that number dropped to about 11,000. This downward trend doesn’t fit the alarmist narrative, so of course we never hear about it.”

There are many reasons for the hype and alarm, of course, ranging from ignorance to arrogance. But there’s also a growing trend to deny God’s sovereignty in our lives. It goes to follow that as our country and world grows more secular, fear about the future will only increase – and belief in mankind’s ability to control only that which God commands will increase as well.

That weather changes and temperatures rise and fall is not a debatable thing – but believing that we can somehow control “the winds and the waves,” that’s a fool’s errand and the source of a massive effort by some to try and assume God’s seat.

Today’s secular modernists are also increasingly uncomfortable with unpredictability and mystery. They look for a reason and explanation for everything, including the weather. But the Lord doesn’t always explain Himself – and while physical laws can help make sense of some storms and other weather phenomena, they can’t explain everything. Clearly, He uses the heat and the cold to accomplish certain things are beyond our understanding. Instead of blaming the heat on lawnmowers or automobiles, it never occurs to the secularist that weather is somehow purposeful.

Suggesting that we’re on a collision course with rising temperatures also belies the fact that God created the earth and placed it where He did in a manner that allows us to survive and thrive. I remember a public-school teacher telling our high school class that we “lucked out” to have the earth positioned “just so” in our solar system. Any closer to the sun and we’d burn up – and farther away and we’d freeze.

It’s hardly a matter of luck. God’s planning and plan is perfect.

We should pray for those who are suffering or struggling due to weather – but we need not worry or fear that God is unaware or doesn’t care. It’s why He’s provided ways to cool off and carry on.

In the end, be aware that the hysteria and fearmongering surrounding the ever-changing climate is primarily driven by a raw grab for power – and a desire to expand the reach and size of government.

Photo from International Disaster Database 2023.